Police: Too many kids joking about school shootings

Feb 27, 2018, 5:46 PM

SALT LAKE COUNTY – It’s not funny, police say.

Officers are giving more details about an alleged prank where a teen said he would open fire in a school in Kearns.  The Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office plans to start an outreach campaign to teach kids that these jokes can land them in big trouble.

Investigators say when the Jefferson Junior High School posted a picture on Snapchat, telling friends not to come to school on Monday, he was holding an air-soft rifle.  Unified Police Sergeant Melody Gray says the boy didn’t realize the panic he sparked.  “When it was brought to his attention why we were there, he literally laughed.  He started laughing and said, ‘I just thought it was funny,’” she says.

Even though it was a prank, Sheriff Rosie Rivera wants the DA to file very real charges.  She says the boy committed a third degree felony.

Rivera says there will be a large outreach effort to teach kids that these jokes can land them in hot water.  This would include instructional videos produced by the department.  She adds, “We’re saying, ‘See something?  Say something.’  Maybe some of these kids are actually starting to think, ‘So and so has been doing this.  I’m going to report it.’”

Since the Parkland shooting, over 50 tips came to the Granite School District through their Safe UT app about four different shooting threats, and District Spokesman Ben Horsley says all of them were jokes.  He says, “One of these kids at one of our high schools was a straight A student who thought he was being funny.  He was sharing it on Snapchat because he feels like just his friends are going to see that.”

Horsley believes parents not monitoring their children’s social media pages is a large part if this problem.  “In most of these cases, the parents are like, ‘You did what?’  They understand the implications,” he says.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

Exterior rendering of the Helena Montana Temple. Photo credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter...
Mark Jones

Open house dates for Helena Montana Temple announced

The Helena Montana Temple will be dedicated on Sunday, June 18, The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced Monday.
23 hours ago
Police siren pictured, eagle mountain police in a standoff right now...
Mark Jones

Boy injured after falling from slide at Rose Springs Elementary School

The Tooele County Sheriff's Office says an 8-year-old boy is in critical but stable condition after falling off a slide at school Monday morning.
23 hours ago
Salt Lake City Police arrested a 31-year-old man Monday morning after he allegedly threatened anoth...
Mark Jones

Salt Lake City police arrest man after road rage incident, involving a gun

A 31-year-old man was arrested early Monday morning following a road rage incident. Police say the suspect allegedly threatened another person with a gun.
23 hours ago
The Utah House has advanced the bill that bans transgender-related surgeries on minors and pauses t...
Aimee Cobabe

Equality Utah supports bill clarifying rules for therapists when it comes to conversion therapy for minors

Equality Utah is supporting a bill adjusting rules for therapists when it comes to conversion therapy for minors.
23 hours ago
Water flows through Mill Creek as snow blankets Millcreek Canyon on Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023. Utah has...
Hugo Rikard-Bell

Utah hasn’t had this much snowfall since 2011, according to NWS

The National Weather Service says Utah hasn't seen this kind of snowfall since 2011. The state is currently at 167% of median for Utah.
23 hours ago
Tens of thousands of dead birds are washing up on the shores of the Great Salt Lake. Wildlife exper...
Aimee Cobabe

Thousands of dead birds are washing ashore at the Great Salt Lake

Tens of thousands of dead birds are washing up on the shores of the Great Salt Lake. Wildlife experts say it's all very normal.
23 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
Police: Too many kids joking about school shootings